Seniors Anna Sesonske and Yang Yang highlighted the 2017 Columbian Awards on Thursday as they were named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Both students have had accomplished high school careers, including weighted GPAs over 100.
Ms. Sesonske will attend Vassar College in the fall where she will major in Chemistry. She participates in a variety of activities, including Math League and Once Upon a Stage at Columbia and dance as part of the Isabella School of Dance Competition Team.
Mr. Yang will attend SUNY Stony Brook in the fall where he will major in Computer Science. He is a proud member of Math League, National Honor Society and the Science Olympiad team, which has qualified for four consecutive national championships.
More than 130 awards were handed out to students in a two part ceremony – one during school and one in the evening – for excellence in academic subject areas, performing arts, athletics, clubs and service.
The morning ceremony began with a special moment as Principal John Sawchuk presented Cameron Newman ’17 with the Principal’s Award for Courage. Mr. Newman has battled a brain tumor since August 2015, going through surgery and cancer treatments, all while maintaining his school work. He will graduate with his classmates later this month.
Cameron Newman ’17 receives Principal’s Medal of Courage 🏅 pic.twitter.com/I6BqP1DdAa
— East Greenbush CSD (@EGreenbushCSD) May 31, 2017
Columbian Day Awards
|Principal’s Award for Courage|| |
|Art Department Award for Excellence|
To the students who have demonstrated consummate skill in art and a strong sense of community spirit.
|AAA (Hudson Valley) Driver Education Award|
Presented to an outstanding Driver Education student who distinguishes themselves in the skills and attitudes that make a safe driver.
|Edward L. Witko Scholarship|
Edward Witko lived for his family, friends and chosen profession. In his ten year career in law enforcement, he served with honesty, integrity and loyalty and was admired by all. He trained with an intensity that gave all who knew him comfort in knowing that he was part of us. In August of 2010, Officer Edward L. Witko died tragically while participating in a motorcycle benefit run for Combat Veterans. This scholarship will be dedicated to the memory of Edward Witko, #29.
Perfect Attendance – All Four Years of High School
|Outstanding Key Clubber Award|
In recognition of your enthusiastic commitment to Key Club.
|The Key Club Award|
In recognition of your dedication to Key Club during your high school career.
Awarded to a senior who has displayed exceptional leadership qualities in club functions and meetings.
|“Labyrinth” Awards for Excellence in Literary Writing|
|Pleasing Poetry Award:||Nicole Presti|
|Amazing Art Award:||Alaaya Patterson|
|Devil’s Advocate Awards of Recognition|
|Outstanding Service: Contributing Editor||Gianna Fiacco|
|Future Contributing Editor||Leif Haley|
|Award of Appreciation||Cheyenne Lentz|
|Excellence in Journalism/Outstanding Service for Layout and Design||Emily Olds|
|Excellence in Journalism/Contributing Writer||Lauren Murtagh|
|Literacy Achievement Award|
This award recognizes a junior or senior student who has consistently demonstrated commitment, perseverance, attendance and outstanding achievement in the Literacy Lab.
|Harvard University Book Award|
Presented to a junior boy or girl who has achieved excellence in academic studies while participating in worthwhile extracurricular activities.
|Smith College Book Award|
Given by The Smith College Club of Albany to an outstanding junior who exemplifies academic achievement, leadership qualities and concern for others.
|Williams College Book Award|
To a junior in the top 5% of his or her class who has demonstrated intellectual leadership and has made a significant contribution to the extra-curricular life of the school.
|Elmira College Key Award|
Awarded to a junior in recognition of high school achievement, leadership, citizenship and participation in extracurricular activities.
|Hudson Valley Community College Book Award|
Recipient is chosen because of his hard work and individuality.
|The Award for a Commitment to Advancement in English Language Arts|
Awarded to a student who has demonstrated a concerted effort in all English Classes and has shown significant advancement in reading, writing and analytical skills.
|The Traditions of Drama Award|
Awarded to a senior who has contributed significantly to an understanding of a love for dramatic works within our school and/or community.
|English Department Distinguished Scholar Award|
Awarded to the senior who has consistently demonstrated a passion for the English Language and achieved excellence within English studies for four years.
|Student Sage College Scholarship|
Awarded to two juniors who exhibit characteristics of academic excellence, student leadership and community involvement.
|St. Michael’s College Book Award|
This is awarded to students who exhibit the characteristics of an ideal St. Michael student, based specifically on achievement in academics and community service. One to the top junior male and female student who have taken on leadership roles within their community service endeavors.
|Foreign Language Department Awards|
This award recognizes academic achievement in the study of a foreign language.
|Highest Achievement in French||Anna Sesonske|
|Highest Achievement in German||Emma Meyer|
|Highest Achievement in Spanish||Allison Puglisi|
|Foreign Language Department Awards|
This award recognizes effort, commitment and enthusiasm to the study of a foreign language.
|Prize for French Studies||Jenna Hoggan|
|Germania Hall Award of Excellence||Emma Meyer|
|Prize for Hispanic Studies||Hope Dedrick|
|German Ambassador/GAPP Award|
Student who most embodies characteristics of a good ambassador: A kind, responsive leader who is knowledgeable about the German language and culture.
This award is presented to the most considerate senior in the graduating class.
|Faculty Service Award|
Awarded to the student who has shown significant assistance to Columbia staff.
|Clarkson University High School Awards |
Presented to members of the junior class who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and have made positive contributions to both school and community. They will qualify for a tuition scholarship should they choose to enroll at Clarkson University.
|Leadership Award||Katherine Hayes|
|Achievement Award||Raymond Borst|
|Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award|
Each year a distinguished group of students are selected and recognized by Wells College for their leadership ability, community involvement and academic excellence. This award honors commitment to academics and student leadership. This program is designed to honor these students who embody the spirit, integrity and intellectual qualities of a strong leader.
|Curtis Lumber Award|
To a senior pursuing a career in the building/architectural field with an average of B+ or better.
|Business and Marketing Honor Society Award Inductees|
The following students have demonstrated high academic achievement in business courses. In addition, these students have proven good character, leadership, and service in business education.
|SRP Outstanding Business Student Award|
Given to a senior business student who has excelled in Business education in memory of all departed members of the East Greenbush School Related Personnel support staff.
|Dignum and Bame Insurance Agency Awards for Excellence in the Field of Business|
Presented to three Business Education students for their outstanding achievements in the fields of Accounting, Marketing and Computer Technology.
|Excellence in Accounting||Olivia Massey|
|Excellence in Marketing||Caroline Hirt|
|Excellence in Computer Technology||Justin Hammill|
|Columbia High School Future Business Leaders of America Leadership Award|
Awarded to two students who have been active participants in Columbia’s chapter of FBLA. They have successfully led the members to reach the goals of this National Organization.
For pursuing studies in health or human services and representing BlueShield of NENY core values: teamwork, integrity, passion, personal responsibility, excellence and respect.
|Cynthia A. Engel Scholarship|
(Rensselaer County Women’s Republican Club)
Presented to a creative student in good academic standing whom has an interest in pursuing a career in journalism or an art college.
|New York State Capital District Society of Women Engineers|
For achievement in mathematics and science for engineering inspiration.
|NYS Mathematics League Award for Excellence|
Columbia High School has participated in the NYS Mathematics League for more than 25 years. There are six contests during the school year which draw problems from a wide range of high school topics. Out of more than 140 Columbia students who participated, this student achieved the highest score.
|RPI Math/Science Award for Excellence|
To recognize the superlative academic achievement of young men and women as well as promising juniors who have distinguished themselves in mathematics and science.
Science Department Awards
|Earth Science Award||Ryan Allen|
|Environmental Award||Haley D’Angelo|
|Biology Award||Owen Ball|
|Chemistry Award||Samuel Koblensky|
|Physics Award||William Grasso|
|Cumulative Excellence in Science||William Grasso|
A three year course which by the end, students must create and perform in an authentic research experiment under the direction of a supervising scientist. A rigorous program which requires time management skills, presentation and writing skills, and research skills in both publication format to develop the experimental question and original hypothesis and also in a laboratory setting. The following five seniors have stood the test of time and completed the three year program in grand fashion
|“The Genetics of The Autism Spectrum Disorder: Exploration of NR3C2”||Megan Fey|
|“The Effect of Classical Music on Anxiety Levels in High School Students in Three Different Levels of Chemistry”||Nafisul Ghani|
|“The Optimal Vertical Placement of Reinforcement in Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls”||Henry Klee|
|“The Impact of Dog Ownership on Self-Concept”||Allison Puglisi|
|“Actual Impairment vs Perceived Impairment in 3 Cognitive Constructs Following a Concussion”||Aric Sanchez|
|Musical Theatre Awards Columbia Players|
|Best Actor||Ethan Ploss|
|Best Actress||Olivia Lopez|
|Best Supporting Actor||Tyler Nolan|
|Best Supporting Actress||Laura Haney|
Each year the South Colonie Teachers’ Association awards a scholarship to a member’s child based on academic achievement, volunteer service and an essay.
|US Air Force Excellence in Math and Science Award|
|St. Lawrence University Book Award|
Awarded to a high school junior who has displayed a significant commitment to community service.
|Lawrence Technological University Award for Excellence in Science and Math|
Presented to a high school junior who has at least one year of chemistry or physics and two years of college preparatory math courses by June 21. This student also must be an active and responsible citizen of the school and community.
|RIT Creativity and Innovation Award|
This award recognizes high school juniors who have distinguished themselves academically, are active and involved members of their school and community, and demonstrate outstanding achievement in innovation, creativity or entrepreneurship.
|RIT Computing Medal Award|
This award recognizes high school juniors who have distinguished themselves academically, are active and involved members of their school and community and demonstrates interest and ability in computing.
|Capital District School Boards Association Annual Student Volunteer Community Service Award|
Presented in appreciation for the many hours of community service you performed.
|Operation Graduation Best Citizenship||Alyssa Burl|
|Operation Graduation Exceptional Attendance||Aidan Selzer|
|Operation Graduation Award for Kindness and Compassion||Kayla Fallon|
|Operation Graduation Award for Most Improved||Gerald Andrews|
|Christopher McAfee Memorial Scholarship|
Given to a student who will attend college who has an outgoing personality and a drive to succeed in all of life’s ventures and challenges.
|Student Council Leadership Award|
Presented to a Student Council member who has demonstrated exceptional leadership for all four years of high school.
|Student Council Advisor’s Award|
Presented to an active Student Council member who has not held an elected position but has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the school community above and beyond her peers.
|Red Cross Community Service Award|
Presented to a student member of the blood drive recruitment team for his or her dedication and hard work in assisting Columbia with its blood drive goal for the 2016-17 school year.
|Ethnic Coalition Inclusion Award|
Presented to a senior who demonstrates an overwhelming desire to promote equality, acceptance and respect for all within our school community.
|Daughters of the American Revolution Award|
This award is presented for achievement in American History.
|Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award|
To a student who possesses an outstanding degree of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.
|Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award (Xerox)|
Awarded to a student who has demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues as well as showing leadership and a dedication to community action. Strong grades and rigorous courses taken throughout their years in the humanities and social sciences.
|Len Michon Memorial Social Studies Department Award|
Honors the memory of Leonard Michon who was a beloved teacher and Supervisor of Social Studies in East Greenbush for many years. Given to the student who has demonstrated outstanding character, scholarship, leadership and service.
Awarded to two students who have demonstrated proficiency in the study of U.S. History and understanding of its Constitution.
|Schodack Republican Club Award|
Given to a Schodack student who has demonstrated an appreciation of the principles of government and citizenship from the studying of social studies.
|Principal’s Leadership Award|
Awarded to students the Principal recognizes for outstanding community service and leadership throughout their years at Columbia.
Columbian Evening Awards
|Board of Education Pepsi Awards|
Seniors demonstrating academic excellence and exemplary citizenship in the high school community and who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education in one of the designated areas.
|Art/Fine Arts||Bridget Maloney|
|Career and Technical Education/Business||Dylan Dubuque|
|Social Studies/English Language Arts||Margaret Dickson|
|CAP/Operation Graduation Programs||Kacie Cooper|
|NYS Comptroller Achievement Award|
Student who has excelled academically and shown leadership potential by volunteering time to serve the school or community.
|Mr. Terrance L. Brewer Scholarship Award|
In recognition for promoting tolerance, endorsing diversity and demonstrating friendship to a fellow student in a recognized and responsible manner.
|NYS Attorney General Triple “C” Awards|
Recognizes students who, by their character, courage and commitment, reflect the highest values in their school and the community.
|EGCSD Education Foundation Awards||Henry Klee|
|Live Outstanding and Achieve Fearlessly – LOAF|
Nathan Terry is a loveable, energetic and fun old boy who happens to have Down syndrome. He has been receiving therapy services since 5-weeks old, so we have the utmost respect and admiration for all the amazing people who have helped and supported him along his journey. Without the unconditional love and support of those who enter into the world of special needs, life for Nathan and so many others would be very different. Therefore, we wanted to honor his ‘A-Team’ of specialists and all those with the compassion and drive to help families/children with special needs by creating this award.
|Erin Elizabeth Nero Columbia Cheerleading Memorial Scholarship|
A senior varsity cheerleader(s) who exemplifies spirit, caring, a positive attitude and community service. Someone who demonstrates good sportsmanship and moral character and serves as a positive role model for peers.
|Julie K. Frezon Memorial Scholarship|
Awarded to a senior female in good academic standing, pursuing an education in the field of math or science. Must be well rounded, participate in athletics, performing arts, community service and/or any activity that demonstrates her diverse interests.
|Alan G. Hall Outstanding Business Leader Award|
Presented to a senior who demonstrates an outstanding work ethic, motivation to excel, personal integrity, compassion for others, and a strong interest in business or science.
|Christopher Bascom Memorial Scholarship|
Established in 2004 to commemorate Christopher’s life that was taken away so tragically by a hit and run driver. To honor and perpetuate Christopher’s memory, financial assistance will be awarded to deserving seniors who possess and exhibit many of the same qualities that made Chris such a special and fine young man. His spirit, which truly defined him, was his compassion and willingness to help others; his enthusiasm, delightful sense of humor and fun loving personality; his motivation that brought out the best in others; his love of history and great interest in sports and most importantly his loyalty, love and devotion to his family and friends.
|Grace A. Maney Scholarship|
Honoring a senior who exemplifies kindness to others on a daily basis and is a positive role model and mentor to his peers.
|Timothy J. Murphy Foundation Scholarship|
Awarded to a senior who is either a child or grandchild of a public safety officer or a senior pursuing a career in law enforcement in honor of Police Detective Timothy J. Murphy of the Albany Police Department.
|The Peter MacKay Memorial Scholarship|
Awarded to a student who possesses kindness, courage and a strong desire to help others.
|American Legion School Award Medal Melvin Roads Post #1231|
Senior boy and girl who are outstanding in qualities of honor, courage, scholarship, leadership, and service.
|US Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award||Suzanne Clarke|
|US Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award||Jesse Nelson|
|US Marine Semper Fidelis Award for Musical||Gabriel Gibney|
|Columbia Tae Kwon Do – Community Impact Award|
Awarded to the graduating senior in recognition of their excellence in community service and being a positive role model.
|Bianco Family Award|
The Bianco Family will award one scholarship to a Columbia High School graduating senior who has participated on the Varsity Cross Country, Indoor Track and/or Outdoor Track Teams that best exemplifies the all-around student athlete.
|Dr. Lori A. Farnan Award|
Presented to a senior who plans on entering the field of medicine and who has displayed exceptional academic ability and community service.
|Van Rensselaer Star Chapter No. 256 Order of the Eastern Star State of NY|
Awarded to a senior girl who exhibits charity, truth and loving kindness.
|Amato Wealth Management Science Award|
Presented to the Junior or Senior who is a leader in the Science Olympiad team and/or in Science Research.
|Upstate NY Hosta Society Scholarship Award|
A scholarship awarded to a local graduate majoring in a field of Environmental/Biological Science given by the Upstate NY Hosta Society which is a local Garden Group sharing their love for the perennial plant known as Hosta.
|Julia O. Wells Memorial Award|
The Foundation offers a monetary award to be given to a senior who plans to pursue a career in professional nursing and has participated in school activities.
|Walter J. Frietag Memorial Scholarship|
This scholarship is awarded to a student accepted to a college and major in an engineering field, who demonstrates high academic achievement, exhibits community involvement/volunteerism and is civic-minded.
|VFW Post #7338 Award|
Awarded to a senior who demonstrates excellence in the patriotic principles of the VFW; leadership and love of country.
|National School Choral Award|
Given to the senior who has shown outstanding performance and commitment to the chorus.
|John Philip Sousa Band Award|
For over forty-five years, thousands of US high schools have chosen this award to honor their most deserving senior band student. The Sousa Award recognizes superior musicianship, leadership, dependability, loyalty and cooperation; qualities that directors strive to develop in all students.
|Justin Russell Memorial Jazz Award|
This award is given in the memory of a Jazz Band student who died in an alcohol-related incident and is given to the senior who best demonstrates the spirit that was Justin Russell – enthusiasm, dedication and a love for playing.
|East Greenbush Friends of Music Association|
2017 Music Enrichment Award – Jazz
|Music Education Scholarship|
Awarded to a Columbia High School student who is pursuing a degree in music education in college.
|East Greenbush Friends of Music Association|
2017 Music Enrichment Award – Orchestra
|National School Orchestra Award|
Given to the senior who has shown outstanding performance and commitment to the orchestra.
The Eastman Award recognizes a high school junior who has demonstrated superior musicianship on his or her instrument and has contributed positively to the school musical environment.
|Bausch and Lomb Medal for Excellence|
Presented to a student who, at the end of their junior year, has obtained the highest academic average in the sciences.
|Christine Wurstlin, M.D. Memorial Science Award|
Presented to a student who has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the field of science and has demonstrated exceptional scientific curiosity or potential.
|Wurstlin Family Memorial Science Award|
Awarded to a sophomore who has maintained a strong academic record in the sciences during the first two years of high school.
|National Merit Scholarship Program|
Awarded to a student who has advanced to finalist standing in the National Merit Scholarship Program of 2017 by demonstrating through distinguished performance high potential for future academic accomplishment.
|Jean M. Tracy Memorial English Department Award for Excellence|
To a senior who has consistently demonstrated excellence in English expression combined with a deep respect for the traditions of literature.
|Susan Smetana Award|
Awarded to an English 9R or 11R student who demonstrated high academic standards and a strong background in community service.
|George Eastman Young Leaders Award |
Awarded to the student who has shown strong leadership, high grades with challenging courses and extensive involvement in extra-curricular activities. The award recognizes future leaders who may have an impact on our world.
|East Greenbush Teacher’s Association Awards|
|4 year – Student enrolled in a 4 year program leading to a teaching certificate||Kelsey Hall|
|2 year – Student enrolled in a 2 year program leading to an associates degree||Jennah N. Hogan|
|School Systems Federal Credit Union Community Service Award|
Awarded to a senior who has demonstrated a continued commitment to community service.
|Theodore A. Romanowski Memorial Award|
Presented to a senior who was a member of a Columbia High School Athletic Team as well as maintained a strong academic record, demonstrated leadership, service to others and exhibited a strong work ethic.
|All Sports Club Scholarship|
Awarded to two deserving seniors based on athletic and extracurricular activities in school and the community.
|Nicholas Budnowski Memorial Scholarship Award|
Awarded to a senior who has demonstrated strong academic records, was a member of a CHS athletic team and demonstrated good sportsmanship and moral character who served as a positive role model for his/her peers.
|Coaches Versatility Award|
Awarded to a senior boy and girl who have participated in three different interscholastic sports prior to their junior year and also participated in three different sports during the same year for at least two years, one of which was in the athlete’s senior year.
|Robert D. Chipp Memorial Award|
Established by the students of CHS after the tragic death of Robert Chipp, who would have graduated with the class of 1950. The student who has demonstrated outstanding athletic performance as well as practiced good school citizenship.
|Edith Cosgrove Award|
To the girl who earned the most varsity letters during her four years at CHS.
|Stuart L. Pitcher Memorial Award|
Presented to an athlete who exemplifies a positive attitude and spirit, sense of fairness, generosity and caring as well as performs community service.
|Manton Spaulding Award|
Presented to the senior boy who earned the most varsity letters during his four years at CHS.
|David Sweet Memorial Award|
Awarded to a boy and girl who have given the most of themselves and used their given talents to the fullest. It is given to athletes whose presence has helped the team in practice and games. Not necessarily the best player, but the one who gives everything they have. A morale booster, a team player and the type of athlete you would like to have more of.
|Robert J. Smith Scholarship|
Mr. Robert J. Smith was a teacher, coach, Athletic Director and motivator for the East Greenbush Central School District. He overcame a brain tumor and returned to a successful career in the E.G.C.S.D. Mr. Smith was a true inspiration for hope, courage and determination.
|Knights of Pythias Award|
Albany City Lodge No. 540 Knights of Pythias Achievement Award presented for extra-curricular activities and/or community endeavors.
|Shirley Kelly Scholarship Fund|
Conceived in 1997 to honor the 80th birthday of Shirley Kelly to be presented to a student pursuing a career in elementary education with the goal of continuing the important presence of excellence in the classroom.
|Xerox Award – Rochester University Technology|
Presented to a member of the junior class who shares in the pursuit of innovative approaches and appreciation for the possibilities of technology.
|Rotary Club Citizenship Award|
Awarded to a student who excelled academically and volunteered in the community.
|Times Union Scholars Recognition Program|
Honors outstanding scholastic achievement by members of the graduating class of schools in the Capital District. The program also honors those teachers nominated by each student scholar for having had a significant and beneficial influence on his or her education.